Friday, August 1, 2008

Stephen R Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People - No 4

I was reminded the other day how much I value Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

The 7 habits are: Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand and then to be understood, synergize, sharpen the saw.

Some of these are a bit hard to describe simply but they really are simple concepts.

I've especially benefited personally from No. 4, Think Win-Win. There is a description that I copied down:

The person who thinks this way possesses the following character traits:
  1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone
So many of our society seem to believe just the opposite. There was a time not so long ago and maybe it is still happening where people played these mental survivor games. The question would be something like "You're stranded on a small boat and there's only room for 3 but there are 6 people; so, who do you throw overboard?" I absolutely hate that thinking. Live or die, sink or swim, fail or succeed - we should all do it together.

Where I benefited from this most strongly was a few years ago when I was approached by a couple of big box retailers about buying some of Dad's land. We weren't selling anything at the time because we'd promised we wouldn't (we being me and my brother).

Generally we were approached by people representing developers who would themselves benefit from a project on behalf of the big retailers. Several of these tried to set it up as a competition between our land (location really) and other locations around us in our general area. In other words their approach was if you don't do this now at our price then your neighbor is going to beat you to it.

That approach didn't work well on me because it felt like I was being threatened and intimidated and that makes me resist. Yes, it scared me, too. I didn't want to make the biggest mistake of my life and ruin my own life and the lives of everyone I knew and so on - which was basically the way the choice was described. I didn't have a lot of confidence in my own business ability either.

But a good friend was a Stephen Covey fan and he persuaded me to read the 7 Habits and then we talked about thinking Win-Win and especially the abundance mentality.

That changed everything for me. I no longer feared my decision but felt empowered to make it. If one of the big boxes chose another site then there was still another and if that one chose another site then that still left me with a piece of ground nearby.

Anyway the other day I happened across someone who was thinking in the old win-lose way and that everything is scarce and there isn't enough and so on. So I tried to pass on the lesson I'd learned several years ago.

Thought maybe I'd blog about it.


Lori1955 said...

Very interesting. As I think about it, I guess I look at things as win-lose. Absolutely right that there is plenty of everybody. I'll have to really work on trying to remember that. Thanks for passing that on.

cb said...

thanks for sharing that story. i like this win-win thinking as well. but we can't help it if we still keep on thinking win lose. we got so used to it, our whole society is based on win -lose thinking. 1 person always have 90% of the pie and the rest share the other 10%. i'm practicing really hard to brainwash my brain against win-lose thinking. easier said isn't it? it's great when u actually have to face a situation like the one u shared and u r really thinking win-win!